High-profile resignations have followed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks concerning the renewal of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Mehmet Keleş, mayor of the northern province of Düzce, announced his resignation a few weeks after Kadir Topbaş suddenly quit as mayor of country's most populated city, Istanbul.
Keleş's name was already voiced among the mayors expected to resign. Media outlets reported that Keleş, as well as the mayors of the capital Ankara, industrial hub Bursa, the central city of Niğde and the western city of Balıkesir, would step down.
Releasing a statement, Keleş cited a defamation campaign against him and his family as the reason for his resignation. The mayor hit the headlines first when he defended the purchase of an expensive car for the mayor's office and following the arrest of his son-in-law for links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), blamed for last year's coup attempt.
In a landmark speech last summer, President Erdoğan stated that there was a "metal fatigue" within the AK Party and took up the task of rejuvenating it.
The ruling party, in power for 15 years, saw a number of changes in its ruling cadres before and after the multiple elections it has won, but it is the first time that mayors have offered their resignation in such short period of time.
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